Simon Yates won the Vuelta a Espana, his first grand tour victory, but he's still bitter about losing the Giro d'Italia.
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Simon Yates is keeping the Giro d’Italia in the back of his mind even with the Vuelta a España celebrations continuing.
The 26-year-old Brit won the Vuelta a España Sunday with Team Mitchelton-Scott. Over three weeks, he was in the red leader’s jersey for 11 days and notched a victory on the Praeres stage. But he will not forget the Giro, which taught him a few lessons in May.
“There’s no real big secret to it,” he said. “It’s just about staying calm in the moment that calls for it, and not being too aggressive.”
Yates led for most of the Giro with an aggressive start that saw him win three stages. But he cracked with 48 hours left to race. Instead, Chris Froome rolled into Rome wearing the race leader’s pink jersey. It made a difference on how he and the team called the Spanish race over the last three weeks.
“Everyone feels good in the first week because everyone has prepared well. For me, that was really the biggest difference,” Yates said. “I arrived at the second rest day in the Vuelta… I wouldn’t say fresh, but compared to how I was feeling in the Giro, it was a different league.
“I think that was where the difference was made. We made the right calls on the road when needed, not being too aggressive. That’s really all I think was the difference.”
Of course, he had to race the Giro aggressively to gain as much time as possible on his main rivals Tom Dumoulin and Froome. Both are much better in time trials, with Dumoulin being the current world champion. In Spain, Yates did not have such a threat.
Fans instead saw an aggressive Yates in the final Andorran stages, attacking 10 kilometers out Friday and 17 kilometers out Saturday.
“For me personally, it comes back to more of a mindset thing. When I find myself on the defensive, it’s quite hard, mentally, to react to people. You never feel like you have the edge or you get the jump, or you surprise anyone,” continued Yates.
“But when you’re more aggressive and you’re attacking, you get that little bit of momentum, you have that bit of a jump, that bit of surprise, and it makes a big difference. So it’s more of a mindset thing than a physical thing.”
Losing the pink jersey after holding it for 13 days from the south to the north of Italy affected Yates. His team explained that he rebounded quickly, but Yates admitted “unfinished business” could see him seek revenge in 2019 instead of targeting the Tour de France.
“My gut feeling is that I’d like to go back to the Giro because I have unfinished business there,” Yates said.
“I’ve not thought about it too much because I’ve been concentrating on [the Vuelta] and the world championships. But my gut feeling is that’s where I’d like to try again.”
Yates last finished seventh in the 2017 Tour, when he also won the white jersey for the best young rider. This winter, the team will plan his schedule along with its other leaders, including Yates’ twin brother Adam and Colombian Esteban Chaves.
Next up, the Yates twins will head up the British national team at the world championship road race in Innsbruck, Austria.